WNBA.com Power Rankings: July 24, 2007

SECAUCUS, N.J. Like every Tuesday during the season, it's time for the latest edition of the WNBA.com editorial staff's Power Rankings. The defending champion Shock reclaim the top spot thanks to a narrow win in Indiana. Elsewhere, Connecticut continues its impressive rise while Sacramento and New York both tumble. Take a look at our list, and let us know what you think in our Fan Voice.

2007 WNBA.com POWER RANKINGS: Week 10
TEAM (last week)
W/L
NOTES
1
17-5 The Shock are back where they want to be after a 3-0 week that saw them sandwich narrow wins over Eastern Conference foes New York and Washington around a nine-point win in Indiana. Though the victory came after Tamika Catchings left in the third quarter with a foot strain, Detroit got plenty of scoring from Katie Smith and Deanna Nolan. And despite being without the re-injured Cheryl Ford on Saturday against the Mystics, Plenette Pierson and Katie Feenstra stepped up with solid performances. They've looked beatable at times, but they're still the favorites in the East.
2
16-6 It shouldn't be a surprise that the Fever are struggling through their first two-game losing streak of the season while all-world forward and MVP candidate Tamika Catchings is on the shelf for 2-3 weeks with a partial tear of the plantar fascia in her left foot. But all is not lost in Indiana, where Tammy Sutton-Brown and Tamika Whitmore will step up their scoring in their teammate's absence. They'll also have to clamp down defensively with a difficult four-game Western road swing on the horizon for this week.
3 14-7 A surprising overtime loss to the Sky aside, the Silver Stars continue to impress and now lead the West by two games over the Monarchs. Becky Hammon has been simply remarkable nearly all season long and fellow All-Star Sophia Young has averaged 20.8 points and 7.8 boards over her last four games. The loss of Erin Buescher for the rest of the year still stings, but Vickie Johnson, Helen Darling and rookie Camille Little should fill her role adequately.
4
Phoenix (5)
13-10 As if the Mercury didn't have enough scoring firepower, Aussie Penny Taylor has kicked her game up a notch this season, is leading the league in scoring this month (23.3 ppg) and has added her name to the list of the WNBA's elite players. Oh yeah, and Phoenix still has 2006 scoring champ Diana Taurasi and 2006 All-Rookie teamer Cappie Pondexter. If they can be just a touch more consistent on the defensive end, they'll avoid bad losses like Friday's at home against L.A. This is a team capable of shaking things up if they make the playoffs.
5 12-11 Like the Shock, the Sun are in the midst of a six-game winning streak. But Connecticut's streak is much more meaningful as it has brought them back from the brink and into position to make the playoffs. The trio of Katie Douglas, Lindsay Whalen and Asjha Jones has been enormous during their run -- especially as Nykesha Sales was again on the bench Sunday after suffering what was thought to be a mild concussion -- and Greek rookie Evanthia Maltsi has contributed solid minutes on the wing. Mike Thibault earned his 100th career win Sunday over the Comets.
6 12-9 The Monarchs, suddenly fallen on hard times, have lost three straight for the first time since July of last year. Minor injuries to All-Stars Rebekkah Brunson and Yolanda Griffith have limited their contributions and forced Adrian Williams into more substantial minutes off the pine. Sixth woman Kara Lawson has been solid and Nicole Powell continues to impress at the three, but Ticha Penicheiro and Chelsea Newton need to be more involved offensively.
7
12-11 Seattle stumbled to a 1-2 mark last week, and their only win came against the Liberty on a last-ditch three-pointer from Sue Bird, her only hoop of the game. Still, the return of Bird from arthroscopic knee surgery should help, though Tanisha Wright was solid at the point in her absence. Lauren Jackson is probably now the leading candidate for league MVP, though she needs help on the scoring front for the Storm to be successful. Iziane Castro Marques had a huge game in New York, and if she can continue to pile up the points, this can be a dangerous team heading down the stretch.
8
10-13 Chicago had lost five in a row before taking its last two in shocking fashion against then-league leaders Indiana and San Antonio. The star for the Sky of late has been guard Jia Perkins, who has led the team in scoring in each of the last five games and averaged 21.4 points a night. All-Star Candice Dupree has been quiet over the last week, but Armintie Price is continuing her climb up the rookie ranks and has become a legitimate rebounding force despite standing only 5-9.
9
10-12 The hard-luck Liberty have lost four straight, their last three by a total of 13 points. Despite a career-high 31 from Cathrine Kraayeveld Friday against Houston and despite the continued improvement of third-year center Janel McCarville, the Libs are the lowest scoring squad in the WNBA. Still, with regular players like Loree Moore, Erin Thorn and Ashley Battle, this is a balanced, potentially dangerous team capable of playing with anyone in the league.
10
9-13 A tough loss Saturday at Detroit put a bit of a damper on their recent play, but the Mystics have still gone 9-5 in their last 14 games and sit only one game out of the fourth playoff spot in the East. All-Stars Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton-Jones continue to lead the way under interim head coach Tree Rollins. Monique Currie needs to be a regular offensive contributor and Nakia Sanford needs to be a more reliable presence in the post for this team to jump back into the postseason. But it's not out of the question... not by a long shot.
11
Houston (11)
7-16 ESPN2 analyst and WNBA.com blogger Carolyn Peck predicted a week ago that the Comets will be spoilers for a lot of teams hoping to sneak into the playoffs, and they played that role to a T Friday in New York. Tina Thompson is still an All-Star, Michelle Snow still has a ton of as-yet untapped potential and recently re-signed Tamecka Dixon has been Houston's best player over the last several weeks.
12 8-13 The Sparks had lost seven straight before surprising the Mercury Friday in Phoenix behind a career-high 24 points and 12 boards from rookie Sidney Spencer. This is a team without a lot of firepower right now, especially with LaToya Thomas sidelined and Temeka Johnson playing at less than 100 percent after knee surgery in February. Taj McWilliams-Franklin is still excellent in the middle, but rookie Spaniard Marta Fernandez has cooled down significantly after a smashing start to the season.
13
Minnesota (13)
5-19 As if the Lynx weren't facing enough adversity with a seven-game losing streak, a rookie coach, a rookie point guard in Lindsey Harding who was lost for the season and a roster with four other first-year players, All-Star Seimone Augustus went down hard Friday against Washington, injured her hip and did not return. Minnesota went on to lose that game and again Sunday in Phoenix (to run their streak to nine), but Augustus was back on the court, scoring 23 points to up her season average to 22.6, good for second in the league.
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